, Grant said ...
As long as it is fan-based, with no source of income, there should be no problems.
Should S&T produce something similar to whatever produced, then I could see complaints.
Unfortunately, the fact that no money is being made by anyone in the production is no defense under the law. If this were so then you could put your CD collection on the internet for download as long as no-one paid you anything for it - Napster got severely burned trying to do this.
The best summary I've seen on the subject of fan productions in lay terms is the FAQ
at the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse
Its a little complicated in our case because S&T are actively looking for licensees to develop gaming and (I'm guessing) entertainment media so if we come up with anything too
innovative they're gonna look at it and say, "Gosh darnit [or words to that effect] that could be a money spinner!" and send out a C&D (Cease And Desist). If we went to court about it would we win? Well, the judges don't always find in favour of the copyright owner, mainly because they have to prove that the offending work actually causes them a demonstrable loss of revenue - easy to do in the case of copyright piracy, the creation of exact copies of videos, books and games for monetary gain, not easy to do in the case of a fan productions which are not copies but unauthorised derivative works that are not for gain.
Take the example of Star Trek: Supremacy
. It is a development of an eleven year old game by Microprose, Birth of The Federation
, that is no longer for sale and will never be re-released so there is no way that Microprose will be able to get any revenue from it anyway. Imagine though if some game house decided that they would make a similar game themselves? Once they got the license (you pay for them in advance) they'd close down anything that they might see as a serious rival as is their right as the owner of the license.
In our case, the FASA board game is a similar vintage but it might be re-released in some electronic form. To complicate matters even further we don't know what exact
form it will take so I would be wary about "breaking new ground" with a computer game beyond a straight out emulation of the board game in the same vein as Vassal
Doing something with the Board game would be entirely different though since the chances of the box set being re-released in the same form is highly unlikely. If it were to be put out again it would probably be "re-booted" with enhanced rules and game pieces (laser-cut plastic pop-outs like the Pirates of the Caribbean game). The only commercial development I can see of the original FASA game would be sourcebooks and minis as we have discussed elsewhere
BUT for them to sell the FASA game would have to be obtainable again - and I don't mean on eBay
at $US61 for a used set!
Personally I think S&T would not only be doing the gaming community a favour by releasing the core game materials for the FASA game into the public domain, they would be creating a market for licensed, second party publishers to sell new game material in the form of minis and sourcebooks as well as
fostering a renewed fanbase for the Crimson Skies franchise who would be interested in a wider range of electronic media.